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Too small for a call center or answering service? Think again.

Retaining a call center to answer and manage your telephone calls when you are unavailable can help make small businesses more appealing to large corporate clientele by presenting a reliable image.

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is looking and acting small.  This is true whether you are a small business soliciting retail customers, but it’s even more important if you are a small business calling on large corporate customers.  The universal truth is, “big likes big.” 

Big companies and the Fortune 1000 like to purchase products and services from other large companies.  This is just a fact of life.  A small business (let’s define small business as a company with less than 50 employees) is at a significant disadvantage when soliciting large corporate business relative to large peers. 

The main reason for this is the insecurity of the person that is actually making the buying decision at the large corporation or non-profit organization.  Looking at tax services as an example, no one in corporate America ever lost their job for recommending PriceWaterhouseCoopers (one of the “big 4”) to conduct tax, auditing, and accounting services.  However, if the Finance Manager of a company chose “Matt Cooper” to do a small tax project, and the results “blew up” on the company, the manager may feel his job would be in jeopardy.  This leads us to the second universal truth, “no one ever got fired for hiring big vendors.”

So, the main objective for a small business owner that calls on large corporate buyers is to make the business “feel and seem” as large as possible, and of course, much bigger than the business actually is.  The right answering service or call center can accomplish this, and is one of the top 3 things a small business can do to appear much larger than they actually are. 

Of course, the idea is to find a call center or answering service that makes the caller feel that they are actually calling your company directly.  If they feel they are calling a physician’s message taker, the effect will never have been gained. 

Weigh the location of the call center, and especially the area code very carefully before choosing.  With today’s caller ID on everyone’s phone, it’s really becoming no different from how home buyers are willing to pay more for homes in certain zip codes, with the most famous being Beverly Hills 90120, with addresses “North of Sunset” (meaning the Sunset Strip) being far more expensive than the million dollar homes South of Sunset.
If you are calling about finance, you want your phone to ring from 212 (New York City).  If you are calling on PVOs, NGOs, and other non-profits you should be calling from the charity and non-profit capital of the world, 202 (Washington D.C.)   If you are calling on the “dot com” industry back in 1999, a silicon valley 650 made you a club member, as so on.

This is one way a small business from Duluth Minnesota can seem to clients, at least initially, that there is an office location in this prime real estate.  There are also call forwarding techniques where calls can be placed into these area codes that ring directly at the burnt out factory where your business resides in Sandusky Ohio, transferred in directly from New York.  You can even choose your e-fax “on-line” fax number to keep up this façade along with a New York City P.O. Box for regular snail mail. 

The most famous use of these call center techniques is demonstrated in the movie “Clear and Present Danger” with Harrison Ford.  Unfortunately, these techniques were used by a Colombian Drug Czar, and they were a bit extreme, but nevertheless the effect was the same and it demonstrates creativity.  The call was placed locally to a U.S. phone number, but the call was actually transferred to a phone in Bogata, Columbia.  To keep up the façade the bad guy in the movie was actually a legitimate business man, the answering service would actually simulate the sounds of what a large manufacturing machine shop would sound like before the call was transferred. 

As we hope you don’t take your call center ideas to these extremes the point is, there are many ways to use the proper call center creatively today to make the small company seem like a Fortune 500 company itself.  Take advantage of them.

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MPC Call Center offers inbound and outbound call center services, help desk solutions, order taking, lead generation, appointment setting, and sales support. We are a U.S. based live operator call center / contact center for small, medium, and large companies.

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